Netanyahu’s Questionable Stance on Lebanon
Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu greets supporters as he speaks in the Likud party after vote event on March 24, 2021 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Netanyahu’s Questionable Stance on Lebanon

Ma’ariv, Israel, October 19

As we get closer to Election Day on November 1, it becomes increasingly clear that Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, who announced their decision to run on a joint list, will become the biggest surprise of the upcoming elections. Their list will probably draw most of their strength from the disillusioned right wing of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, from the Likud, and a little from Shas and United Torah Judaism. It was believed that the collapse of the Bennett-Lapid government would lead to the strengthening of the Likud, the leading right-wing party led by Binyamin Netanyahu, by at least five more seats. But in reality, the Likud is being weakened according to almost all polls; a fact proving that Netanyahu is no longer bringing in new votes to the Likud, and is likely losing his power and status – not only among the Israeli public in general but also among the right-wing voting public. Over the years, Netanyahu managed to portray himself as the best politician, who knows how to navigate election systems better than anyone who competed against him. And here, in the test of recent days, Netanyahu is being revealed as someone who can’t even see reality as it is. His recent insistence on opposing the maritime border agreement with Lebanon is a case in point. Israel’s entire security apparatus claimed that the agreement is good for Israel. But Netanyahu ignored their assessment and spoke up against it, making him look delusional. It is clear to everyone that had Netanyahu reached the exact same agreement, word for word, he would have signed it in seconds. Netanyahu had an opportunity to prove to the public that he cares about the country more than he cares about his personal political interests. But his rejection of the deal with Lebanon proved that he largely lost the political wisdom that characterized him over the years. The phenomenon of veteran politicians whose age and seniority work against them is not new. Even the first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, who was very charismatic, had difficulty understanding at the time that even great sympathy and charisma have an expiration date. Ben Gurion was late to recognize that new currents were being formed in his party, and found himself competing with the camp of Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, and others. He paid the price for his mistakes during the 1965 elections, when his new party failed miserably in the elections, ending his long political career, and sending him to his home in Sde Boker until the end of his life. –Ephraim Ganor (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)


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